After a tough loss last week in Coach Phillips debut at the FargoDome, the Youngstown State Penguins welcomed the limited 3,500 fans as they hosted the fifth ranked Northern Iowa Panthers, who were coming off of a 24-20 loss last Friday to South Dakota State. Someone was going to get their first win of the 2021 season. But it was not going to be the Penguins as Youngstown State falls to UNI, 21-0.
Youngstown State Falls To UNI In Home Opener
The Penguins won the coin toss but would defer to the second half. That gave the Panthers getting a chance to strike first. And they did. Redshirt-sophomore Quarterback Will McElvain would find his receivers Quan Hampton and Deion McShane for some big yardage and would rush the ball himself for a decent amount of yards. However, good defense by Grant Dixon and Patrick Minenok forced UNI to bring out Matthew Cook for the 32-yard field goal, making it 3-0.
Meanwhile, the YSU offense struggled once again trying to move the ball against the tough UNI defense. The Penguins did find some momentum before the end of the first quarter. Jaleel McLaughlin put up a total of 17 yards on three consecutive running plays. The last play of the first quarter would be a Mark Waid five yard run for a first down.
Both offenses showed some flashes. But the talented defenses on both YSU and UNI made it hard for the offense to get any momentum. Thus, the score stayed at 3-0, UNI.
To think the second quarter would be any different would be naive. What little rhythm the YSU offense had slowly drifted away as a Waid sack and a third down checkdown to Christian Turner forced the Penguins to bring out Paddy Lynch to punt.
Northern Iowa got the ball back and started to move down the field once more as McElvain found Hampton for 15 yards and then they went to the running game with Tyler Hooseman who would get the ball in his hands six times, moving all the way to the YSU 24. Once again however, the Panthers would only be held to three points making it 6-0.
The Penguins offense went back onto the field and had help from a defensive pass interference call. Still the offense stalled with Joe Craycraft in the series as quarterback. The two quarterback system that they have been working on still is not refined. The Penguins defense got an interception by Troy Jakubec before the end of the half, but they were down 6-0.
The Penguins coaching staff gave the team some sort of big momentum halftime speech. YSU responded with a strong start in the third quarter. Waid just like last week, gave the Penguins a push, rushing his way 14-yards to the UNI 43 yard and a couple drives later finding Jake Benio 10-yards out and giving the ball off to London Pearson for a few yards. However, the drive stalled, but the Penguins brought out one of their best special teams units in kicker Colten McFadden. McFadden would however pull the 38-yard field goal, keeping it 6 to 0.
Later on in the third, the Panthers would drive down the field as after a false start. They had backed themselves into a 2nd and 20 scenario. Hooseman would go outside breaking tackles and picking up 16-yards and then Dom Williams steamrolled ahead for the first down which ended the third.
The final quarter is where things got away from YSU. In just three plays, the Panthers would score and thought about going for two, but a delay of game hurt them making them kick the PAT as it was now 13 to 0.
The Penguin offense once again stalled. Waid on a 3rd and 14 made a big run, but was short after being knocked out of bounds by Eric Mooney. YSU had to once again punt the ball away with just under 12 minutes to go in the fourth.
In the end, Northern Iowa would get one more touchdown as they moved the ball down field and had Williams take it in a yard out. Then, McElvain found McShane in the back of the end zone right behind the defense making it 21-0 which would be the final after another four and out by the Penguins. A fun fact about this is that this is coach Mark Farley’s 100th win in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the first to ever do it in the conference for the coach who has been with the program since 2001.
Meanwhile, back to the board for coach Phillips and the Penguins as they will look to get him his first win next weekend.
Youngstown State Stats
Mark Waid 8-10 Comp, 33 yards 0TD, 0INT, 9 rushing attempts for 37 yards
Joe Craycraft– 7-9 Comp, 31 yards, 0TD, 0INT
Jaleel McLaughlin– 8 attempts, 38 rushing yards, 0TDs
London Pearson 4attempts, 0 rushing yards
Jake Benio– 4 catches for 41 yards.
Northern Iowa Stats
Will McElvain– 15-30 Comp, 183 yards, 0TDs, 1int. Seven rushing attempts for 38–yards.
Tyler Hooseman– 12 attempts, 68yards
Dom Williams– 15 attempts, 35 rushing yards, 2TDS
Quan Hampton– 5 receptions for 74 yards
Deion McShane– 3 receptions for 38 yards .
Youngstown State (0-2) will host the Southern Illinois Salukis (1-1) who just ended the North Dakota State Bison winning streak, beating them 38-14. Kickoff is 12pm on ESPN PLUS at the Ice castle or on 570WKBN.
#5 Northern Iowa (1-1) will host the Illinois State Redbirds (0-1). Kickoff is at 5pm on ESPN+.
Main Photo courtesy Robert Hayes/The Vindicator.